Review Xbox 360: Xmen Origins: Wolverine

 

X-Men Origins Wolverine is a very bloody, violent and entertaining experience, which is a surprise as most movie time games aren’t half as good as the movies they are based on. The game is very high quality in most aspects, it’s not the best slash ‘em’ up ever made but it doesn’t disappoint, in-fact if you decide to buy/rent it you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. I have not seen the movie but have noticed it’s a 12 and the game is a 18, makes sense as you can create gore and violence more easily through the media of gaming, and Logan does have some nasty weapons at his disposal, let’s face it he isn’t going to tickle people to death with them, so this game actually portrays the true potential of the character ‘Wolverine’ in all his darker glory as the comic portrays.

 

 

If you leave the game on the starting menu the CG sequence will kick in, with you free falling heading toward a very unlucky enemy, you plough into the guy leaving a small crater and a lot of mess, that basically sets you up for the blood soaked violence that is to come that makes this title. It looks stunning right down to the expressions on Logan’s face and with the in-game graphics holding their own as well, this game has a high quality running all the way through it even in the story line, I haven’t seen the movie but I’m guessing it follows the story to a degree.

I’m not going to spoil the story for people who haven’t seen the movie as the game does contain spoilers but you play two story’s, escaping from the weapon X facility, where you see Logan gaining his adimantium claws and also team X’s mission in Africa commanded by Col. William Stryker.

 

 

Game play is nothing more than an ultra bloody hand to hand combat experience, which obviously works well with the Logan character. It also has from time to time a very light puzzle element, for example: climbing walls, moving objects and shimmying across cliffs, not really anything to be worried about especially when you have a feature called ‘Feral Vision’ its makes all objects you can interact with glow green or orange (good for finding dogs tags). like with most hand to hand combat games you have a ‘Fury’ system, you unlock a small amount of ‘Fury Attacks’ as you play and are very gruesome to use indeed. ‘Fury Attacks’ work with other attack combos, as the combat system flows very fast and smooth, which is a relief as I was expecting to be let down, which to be honest happens too often with movie time games.

What makes this game constantly interesting to a degree is the skill, mutagen and reflex features and because you gain experience the capability of upgrading and tweaking your skills becomes available, which does help with the repetitive feel of the levels.

Character Skills: Here when you have experience points to spend, you can upgrade your ‘Fury Attacks’, claw damage, health and rage. When you upgrade your ‘Fury Attacks’, it expands the whole attack, for example: Upgrading the ‘Claw Spin Duration’ skill you can make your attack last much longer by tapping the X button, it’s good to see the attacks change as you upgrade them. Upgrading your claws enables you to unlock new attacks so there not handed to you as you progress. you can check what attack moves you do have by scrolling to the bottom of the upgrade menu, which you access by pressing the select button.

 

 

Mutagens: These are special ability’s that you collect in-game, they look like floating glowing disks, collect these and you will unlock mutagens to use in-game. They range from: Gaining extra experience to increasing damage from ‘Fury Attacks’ plus you can upgrade these but not with experience, you have to find other floating disks in-game, this is good that they don’t stretch the experience features too far and give you other things to look for in-game rather than repeating levels just to upgrade you’re ability’s. You can select up to three but have to unlock the other two slots as you progress.

Reflexes: Now this is another interesting feature which adds depth and achievement into the game. Your reflexes grow depending on what enemy you fight, the more you fight that enemy the more efficient you become in fighting that style of enemy. These also go up three levels as well and makes killing weaker types of enemy quicker as your experience bar grows, which is fantastic as when you progress through the game and you have harder enemies to fight, you can kill the weaker enemies very quickly to gain fury then use that fury on harder and better trained enemies. The game evolves with you, giving you better and harder challenges when you proceed but rewards you by not wasting too much of your time with the enemies you have fought so many times before, which cuts a lot of the repetitive boring combat out that a game like this may suffer from.

There are a multitude of moves such as: finishers, grabs, throws, light and heavy attacks, and attack combinations, so many in-fact you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to combat. They are high in graphical quality and in physical interaction: body’s will lose limbs and become blood soaked also when throwing your prey; you can see them rebound off walls with the good use of physics. You will also notice when in ‘Feral Vision’ mode that you can interact with your environment: throwing enemies onto sharp pointy objects and impaling them, triggering explosive barrels and crushing enemies with inanimate objects, you yourself can also been thrown into these objects and all this is portrayed in a brutal bloody style. You will also come across dog tags to collects, they are around the necks of fallen soldiers and with ‘Feral Vision’ on, they glow green. You gain experience from dog tags and the more you collect the more experience you get, also keep an eye out for little floating statues of Logan as these will unlock bonus rounds. If you unlock and of these challenges you will be pit against another wolverine, after you beat the challenge you unlock a costume for in-game, there are four to collect all together.

 

 

These aren’t just your run of the mill bad guys either; they range in skill and in size too. When first introduced to a new type of enemy you will get a short in-game cut scene, so you actually know who your fighting and most importantly why. You will face some big enemies either in the form of Goliaths or W.E.N.D.I.G.O prototypes, here you can just slash to your heart’s content but they will most likely hit you, it’s better  to dodge (LT & RT + direction) then pounce on their backs, again changing the combat so its less repetitive.

Also to break up the relentless hand to hand combat, there are stand alone scenes: in chapter two a helicopter will chase you down, you then must inch your way up to it hiding behind objects as you go, it’s a welcome break later on when it becomes a little repetitive and also adds more variety to the game. This game as you progress improves the game play to keep you interested which some games don’t do at all, X-Men will keep your attention and wanting to play more as it rewards you with experience but also ups the game play later on when you become a killing machine. There’s also little stealth element to parts of this game and with unique stealth attacks when you sneak upon enemy’s, which just gives this game even more choice in how you want to play it, which is incredible as your already given so much in the way of interacting with enemies . All these features work well together, which gives you a rich bloody experience, You really do feel like wolverine when you pounce from miles away, ploughing your claws into a guys chest and proceeding to rip his head off… genius!

Graphically this game has had some hard work put into it, not only in the detailed environments and polished CG scenes but also Logan’s healing ability. When Logan gets injured wounds appear on his body, but not only does it create a consequence to being shot, you can also see his innards and I’m talking ribs, liver and basically anything that’s inside his body. I have been so badly wounded that all I could really see was his adimantium skeleton and a few tiny bits of flesh, it really does bring the game to life and you will often find yourself checking out your battle wounds and watching them heal, this is a welcome and interesting step into interactive character graphics in-game. Environments are detailed but don’t look out of this world, but that really doesn’t matter as your too busy looking for opposition to rip into cat food.

As for blood splatter and gore it is all portrayed gruesomely, limbs cut off generate a lot of blood and action, and the sounds to go with all these attacks are brutal themselves, adding even more violence. A great little bit of detail I noticed which I love is, if you cut limbs of enemy’s, watch them on the floor, they will roll in agony with no arms or hold that stump you just gave them, fantastic!

 

 

There’s not much to go back for, maybe to complete on a harder difficulty or to collect those missed dog tags and mutagens and achievements are all obtainable just through game play and come thick and fast and there isn’t any online, which gives it a life span of however long it takes you to complete it fully. I have also come across a couple of glitches which is a huge shame, I’ve had start a certain part again because of enemy’s getting stuck and not dying, not often though, and I have been in combat and my pad didn’t stop rumbling till the end of the level, which was rather annoying. These glitches don’t happen often though and you may not experience them.

X Men Origins: Wolverine is a big step in the right direction, with all its features, detail and attention to quality of game play. It is a must for anybody who wants to be entertained all the way through a game, with its unique style of violent play and ultra bloody graphics this game is perfect for fans of gore and will keep the fans of the movie happy with its extra detail into the story. I’ve heard from a few X men comic fans that didn’t like the movies, and that they love this game because it portrays Logan as his brutal animal self, so hopefully other studios can see how potentially great movie time games can actually be and follow suit.

Rating: 7.9/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway

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Brothers in Arms Hells Highway is a first person squad combat shooting game that makes you realise what these games are all about and that is to remember the people who died protecting us in the war. Some war games are about the violence and action, BIA does more than that and actually stops you and makes you realise what those soldiers went through in the darkest moments of WWII and captures the gore, violence and pain these people saw.

You are Sgt. Mathew Baker, squad leader of a recon unit of the 10th Airborne. You and your division are sent into Holland on a mission to destroy Nazi Germany before Christmas 1944 by fighting your way through German lines from Holland.

The first level gets you straight into this tense atmosphere and story line as you find yourself in the doorway of a huge WWII plane ready to take that jump, as the view pans out you see all the other war planes on their way to the target drop site, you can really see the intensity and scale of this war which BIA gets across well in its story telling and general feel of the game. You will also be shown memories of Bakers, which adds to the drama and builds up character profile and also drags you into the lives of these people even more. You land with Sgt. Joe Hartstock in a destroyed damp hospital, bombs are falling and glass is shattering everywhere, you run through the corridors as you try to regroup with your squad mates.

After the initial walkthrough level and some interesting background information at base camp you will enter Holland, the scenes you see after this are even more inspiring with glider planes landing right alongside you as you rendezvous in your jeep at the target drop zone. With sunny skies and a golden glorious feel it really sets you up for a fall as you start to see some upsetting scenes as the game takes a dark bloody twist as things start to go wrong for these men.

The script for BIA is compelling, with no over the top dramatics and with more of a personal look at these soldiers life’s in camp and on the battlefield, you get the complete picture of how these men over come more than just the pure fear of war but to also overcome more personal issues, you will start to get to know your comrades in many ways which adds a lot character and depth to this game and will have you in despair at the saddening story line.

Through the story you will meet other soldiers and take a look into their lives individually. Many of these stories don’t have happy endings and you will see demoralized scenes as these men are slaughtered and maimed. Operation Market Garden did not go well at all, with 17,000 soldiers killed in nine days, BIA shows you all this death and destruction and does not sugar coat any of it and stays true, to a degree to the true story this game is based around.

BIA is like any first person shooter control wise, you have your: A for sprint, RT to shoot and X button to reload but BIA has some different features so configuration is a little different to what you’re used too however it’s not a massive problem as after a couple of levels you will have gotten used to the extra commands. If the default controls are a problem for you, be sure to check out the option screen where you can select from alternate control schemes and create custom control figurations I would also suggest to turn up you’re sensitivity as I found the default too slow.

 

You can choose to take the tutorial by pressing A for yes or B for no at the beginning of the first level I would say yes as the extra controls are a little different but refreshing. It will take you through the basics of ducking and sprinting and after that you will learn to dig in (take cover) to look over cover you just use the left analogue stick in the direction you want, which makes it easy to peer over low-height cover and around the side of cover. Also you will learn about suppression icons, suppression icons appear over targets and are gray but turn red when they see you, shoot at them and this icon will turn gray again which means they are recovering, this is very useful in battle as you can make some targets hide and take out others with the added benefit of knowing when the recovering targets will start attacking again and is a great feature to use just for moving you and you’re men into better cover, oh and most importantly to zoom in or aim down your sight you use the right analogue stick not the LT button.

The second level you enter Holland, you are now a squad leader and depending on the mission you will have up to one to three teams to command. Here you take control of a machine gun team to get you started and depending on your fire and manoeuvre techniques and your ability to learn, you can use this feature to maximise your success also the instruction booklet come with a easy to read table of what units are best in certain scenarios for example: the machine gun team are great at suppressing small arms fire and best behind wooden cover.

Controls are easy to learn and use: To call your team to you hold the B button or press down on the D-Pad after that the MG icon will move into the middle of your compass so it reminds you that the MG team is following you. To order your men to move: hold the LT button down to bring up the command ring then release when the ring is in the position you want your men to move to, as squad leader you can order you men to take cover anywhere in the gaming environment even out in the open, but of course placing your men behind cover is a must. Also your men are smart enough to seek nearby cover automatically, especially if there are enemies around so no repositioning required by you if you don’t get the ring in the position you wanted the first time around. To order a team to fire onto a target: hold the LT button and aim at the target you want destroyed, a crosshair should appear then release the LT button to issue the ‘fire’ order, you can also press the RT to exit command mode without issuing a order so if you do press LT and want to cancel you can. To change your current team (if you have more than one) press the B button to cycle through or use the right and left directions on the D-Pad to pick the team you want without cycling through. This may seem like a lot to remember but wait till you’re past the second mission; all these controls will come easily as BIA doesn’t give you a steep learning curve but a steady progressive one.

For added strategic value and help if you get lost, there is a Tactical Map: press the select button and it will bring up a map of the battlefield. Here you can check out current and completed objectives and information on enemy and friendly units. To view units: press B for enemy units, A button for friendly units and Y for position of current objectives which is helpful if you get lost or confused and adds more of a strategic element for people who want more strategy. For anyone who thinks they don’t know much about strategic positioning and tactics, the game will teach you enough to learn how to combat difficult fighting scenarios by flanking so don’t panic too much about the ‘strategy’ part of this game if you are already.

You do get control of a Sherman tank but not often enough as it’s a nice change from the strategy. Another great bit of detail is you can pick from either controlling the cannon from inside the tank or sit on top with the mounted machine gun, again a great feature just to keep you entertained and on your toes. Sitting on top with the mounted machine gun does leave you open to small arms fire, however if you start to flash red just press the LB button to cover from fire to recoup your health. The cannon is incredibly powerful and with most of the BIA environment destructible, makes the Sherman tank levels fantastic as you can destroy almost anything, things get lively here with lots going on and really makes a refreshing change from inching forward all the time.

All these features are introduced gradually and after that are easy to incorporate into game play, which is great when new or special features fit well with the all round feel of the game, you don’t want a game that misuses or is unable to incorporate features smoothly and properly into a game as it will take away from the fun and be more of a nuisance rather than adding quality.

One thing to watch out for in BIA is that combat indoors isn’t half as good as outdoors, the style of the game doesn’t work well indoors as movement can be slow and constricting when you have a lot of different objects round you. Expect to be killed at least once in a building as its hard to see who’s shooting you and from where, this is something that should have been addressed as the rest of the game doesn’t have game play issues like this.

After you get used to the combat system there are a few other points of interest I should tell you about, the use button (X) is used for much more than reloading and swapping weapons, it also allows you to interact with various elements in the environment.

ACTIVE MOMENTS: Some cinematic scenes can happen in game, when you see the “active moment” prompt on screen you can press and hold the X button to change your view and watch the scene unfold.

RECON POINTS: Recon points are a vantage for important or interesting information on the current situation. Press the X button to survey the point of interest and unlock a report that you can view using your tactical map. You can check how many recon points there are in a level and also how many you’ve collected by bringing up your tactical map, just underneath the objectives.

KILROY WAS HERE: The legend of Kilroy differs depending on who you talk to, but among the American soldiers, he was always “the first one in and the last one out”. If you find him (looks like a cartoon like drawing of a face with a long nose) press the X button to make your mark on the legend. You can also check how many Kilroys are on a level and how many you have already collected in the tactical map.

The sound track for BIA is dramatic and epic where it is needed, for example: intro’s to huge fight scenes, the music is dramatic and gets you wanting to fight with your comrades. When the mood changes and say a comrade is killed, the music will follow with an orchestra of sound and emotion, which is a must for large and compelling war games, you want to be moved by sad scenes and sad music. As for bullet sounds, explosions and general effects, they aren’t mind blowing but they are to a more than acceptable standard, but the voice acting in BIA is great, they really get across emotions like urgency and other key emotions very well.

The graphics actually come into their own when you encounter dark environments. The lighting effects are nicely detailed, highlighting textured surfaces and other lighting effects like fires or firing you’re weapon in the dark are portrayed excellently in the dark. In the daylight the general look of environments is acceptable and nothing really exciting, but the gore and violence have had more work put into it. Throwing grenades is satisfying, as enemies flip and get blown a few feet through the air, also the blood effects are enjoyable with good blood spray.

All gore and bad language can be turned off in the menu system, so if you’re worried this being a 15 that it’s too much for your son or daughter, you can turn it off.

The fact that this does have a big strategy side to it means that this game doesn’t have fast paced fighting and game play, more of a rewarding step by step victory. Which means for people who are looking for heart stopping excitement you’re not going to get it but you will get more of a feeling that you’ve accomplished something at the end.  This game is more for people who have restraint and like to plan and flank, but it still does have that rewarding satisfaction of you, squad leader, getting stuck in to, but because of your teams you feel a little left out from time to time which is not to everyone’s tastes.

After playing it for a few days its strikes you as quite repetitive, yes all these features are a good expansion from the older BIA titles but it’s nothing ground breaking, which doesn’t make it one of those games you must have straight away. BIA doesn’t take you to new levels of gaming it just makes damn good use of easy to use and helpful features, which is a shame after the detail and atmosphere they try to bring in through dialogue and iconic imagery or war would be better received if there was a little bit more excitement.

Overall BIA is worth buying especially if you like first person shooters, it will test you in much more than your shooting ability, but will also test your patience and tactical ability. It’s nice to be challenged as a gamer and to be given a different direction in the competitive market for first person shooters, so if you’re in need of a challenge or in fact a change, BIA is worth a look and will have you wrapped up in the immersive, dark and saddening story and mission that is ‘Operation Market Garden’ also known as ‘Hells Highway’.

Rating: 7.7/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: Ninja Blade

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This isn’t a generic Ninja Gaiden rip yes it has similarities bit it is a game within its own right.

You’ll find yourself in the ninja shoes of Ken and you are quickly thrust into the main storyline. The story is a little strange and hard to get into. A parasitic bug has invaded Tokyo and is turning people into mutant like creatures, so you ken must rid Tokyo of this plague. I must say the story really doesn’t get your attention, sitting through a story that’s hard to get into because it’s so strange can get you a bit irritated or in fact you just sit through it wanting to hack and slash everything in sight.

You will be thrown into the action on the first level, you also acquire all three swords here, there’s your Twin Falcon Knives they are the quickest weapon a bit like nun chucks actually, you can use these to grapple and swing over gaps also good for swarms of small foes. There’s your Stonerender sword that can smash through more heavily defended foes and bosses also if you keep an eye out for a A button prompt you can smash open cracked walls but only when you have that sword equipped. Also there’s you “main” sword the ninja blade looks like a samurai sword good for everything in between.

Accompanying your swords which Ken carries on his back is a disk shaped throwing weapon (again similarities here compared to Ninja Gaidens Musou attack) you can charge it with air, fire and electricity, these help you progress through levels and take on enemies by say shocking a line of them for you to attack while they are disabled.

You can upgrade all weapons and disk powers by collecting souls in the levels then you upgrade weapons to unlock combos and also to change the swords form/look, again similar exp system to Gaiden. It is easy to combine combos and moves together after you’ve unlocked them of course by keeping the left or right trigger down any of the attack buttons also the movement is quick and smooth with the ability to dash easily round your enemies and also jump combos are effective too. Also you can upgrade any weapon from the mission briefing screen or in level, which is very useful when you start as you can level up weapons to help progress you in the middle of a level not only after every level.

This game features QTE’s ( Quick Time Event’s) which I think actually is a nice touch instead of constant button bashing also these scenes and events (keep an eye out for a focus shot on Ken’s eye for a QTE) look and feel good and exciting jumping, slashing, swinging round and say finishing a boss with a Todome finisher, which is basically the finishing blow to a boss, it just looks good and feels even better.

Some bosses are a nightmare like the hydra boss, you have to time your attacks right to hit the objects back and there’s three hydra head, one which fires at another speed, you will find that some bosses are easy even later on in the game then you will hit something like this, just perceiver or use some heath and adrenaline pickups you can also find around the levels.

This isn’t for the fussy ninja types who want a really hard challenge and experience as ninja blades is light on game play in areas, running of a wall kill to kill some enemies to just do the same over and over isn’t good enough these days, there are lots of ways to challenge the gamers and to keep it enjoyable but I feel a bit cheated in places how it’s so exciting and then flat line dead but if you do love being a ninja this will pass the time in between those other favourites of yours.

In levels you will also find costumes and unique colour sets for Ken which is cool but what’s better is that you can customise every bit of Ken chosen costume yourself, which actually is original and it’s always nice to have customisation like this on main characters.

The levels sadly are quite linear, doesn’t mean there not enjoyable, just not many big fights occur with diverse or large amounts of enemies it’s always a few here a few there or a few more at a boss battle and not enough big spaces to jump round, which really is a big part of ninja games is the style, running, jumping of walls and pulling off impressive combos and looking good at the same time. Previous Levels can also become much shorter if you’ve levelled up already and are going through levels for souls which is a shame because it is still a fun game and could have had a longer life with a few more levels and bosses to keep you entertained.

I’m going to have to mention the glitches, they are some of the worst I’ve seen and I hope they get patched for when this is released to the UK because I can see a lot of people getting very angry and I don’t blame them.

I think for what this game is, its visually hitting above it weight I didn’t see many faults at all and the starting intro is nice and refreshing say from the normal boring tutorials, it looks and feels exciting playing a ninja jumping from a helicopter, slashing foes and free falling but sadly there isn’t enough unlockables or rewards for this to have a very long play life, as when you completed it once you have basically upgraded everything and found most items but say one costume which you just can’t be bothered to search for.

 Yes with a name like Ninja Blades it’s going to get called a clone of Ninja Gaiden and of course being in the same niche there going to have similarities but Ninja Blades takes a nice different direction compared to the more serious Ninja Gaiden and has brought a bit of excitement and direction into this niche just not enough sadly for it to be anything more than a satisfactory game, so I wouldn’t rush out and buy this unless your itching for some new ninja antics or something to play simply because you have played everything.

Rating: 6/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: Tom Clancy’s Hawx

TCHRB

 

Ok so Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X is not a difficult flight simulator but like all flight games there are a lot of controls to learn don’t be put off by this! Like any game you can get better by practising the basics then onto more advanced techniques but if you’ve placed Ace Combat 6 for 360 you will get straight into this as the controls are basically the same.

Story is original but very predictable, The High Altitude Warfare – Experimental Squadron (H.A.W.X) origins start at 1943 in the middle of WW2, they converted enemy aircraft and had some of the most secret combat missions of the entire war. The group was called project FALCO back then and after the war, project FALCO captured numerous advanced aircraft for the US Department of Defence, which they then shut down after the war, or that is what they wanted people to think the FALCO project was reorganised into H.A.W.K’s.

Hawx screenshot

Your story starts as the H.A.W.K’s group is going to be deactivated because of increasing budgets and the modernising of the military and has also led to PMC’s (Private Military Contractors) becoming more popular and powerful amongst states and countries. After this change in power the PMC’s spread into intelligence recon, land, air and sea assaults also going into goods manufacturing and even into consultancy….. You smell something fishy too then? You then get employed by Artemis Global Security and you get control of your old squadron again then you basically sort the mess left by this unforeseeable global balance change by of course blowing things up, if only all life’s problems could be solved this way, shame.

I like to play all types of games but there’s something about the game play of these types of games I can’t find anywhere else, flying around in a jet powered plane blowing stuff up is just great but if you like you games to be in-depth try something else otherwise if you’re a pick up and play person maybe give this a look.

The game plays pretty much smoothly just don’t fly too close to the ground and you may need to get used to the cameras and movement as I’ve found myself a little disoriented at times. It’s a lot more arcade like with the fact you have an automatic speed set to accelerate from and brake from (can be turned on and off) so don’t worry about slowing down so much you’ll fall from the sky, also this makes it more friendly and accessible to new comers to the jet fighter experience. There’s also some other great features like the intercept feature, when the indicator appears press the X button then a series of gates will appear, fly through them, this will guide you into position to attack, this is useful when you’re on top of an enemy or just near one, makes the business or repositioning under pressure a lot easier, also there’s a similar system for the dodging of missiles and rockets that are locked onto you, it’s all the same part from you press B button when someone has a lock on you or you could even deploy your flares with right analogue stick. That’s about it you just need to get used to yawing and actually steering your jet.

Hawx Screenshot

Graphically it looks little worse than Ace Combat 6 again with the square like units on the ground,  the look of the aircraft is acceptable and good enough to make you feel cool when you’re flying round the sky’s showing off to your allies or even friends as this game has a good multiplayer side to it. The lack of effects shows, like when you accelerate there no flames; no boom no nothing which just means it’s missing the little worth wile improvements on features and effects that make these games fun and cool.

The map detail is good, city’s looks nicely detailed when you fly over them and the smoke effects look real too, also the natural scenery around looks clear and pleasing to look at, which is important really as you see a lot of your surrounding areas at one time you want to feel like you’re flying round a realistic battle ground and not a scene from toy soldiers with tiny Lego like units and structures.

I don’t think after completing this game you will play it through again, there’s not enough game play really for you to give it another play through but the co-op element can fix that. The voice commands you use once and forget about them, it’s a lot easier to use the buttons but it’s a little amusing none the less. The story is has little impact on top of all this it just fills you in on your mission with a little reason why you are doing what you’re doing but I guess with something that has an arcade feel should be judged more on game play.. I would if there was enough game play to judge it with. I’m little disappointed as it’s obviously been branded a Tom Clancy came but has little Tom Clancy quality or excitement like they normally bring, it’s still enjoyable… after you get over your initial disappointment.

 Rating: 6.5/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

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This is the fully fledged console series sequel in the Command & Conquer franchise.

This is a much loved franchise, with other titles like Command & Conquer: Renegade 2 and Tiberium Wars, which were received very well. One of my favourites is Command & Conquer: Generals but there are so many great Command & Conquer games out there but they are PC titles, not console and that is what is worrying me slightly, the controls are vast on the PC versions with many ways to hotkey commands obviously consoles don’t have that luxury.

The story is brilliant, a kind of “what if?” vibe which gives a great spin to the story and keeps you wanting to play more levels so you can see the unique way these games get you so involved.

In Red Alert 3, the crumbling leaders of the Soviet Union travel back in time to change the course of history by killing Einstein. This creates an alternative timeline where technology has followed a different evolution; a new super power has risen in the wake of world war three. There is a three way struggle for world domination between The Empire of the Rising Sun, The Soviets and The Allies and with a new line of wonderful wacky technology expect units like armoured bears to transforming tanks to wreak havoc with.

Red Alert is easy to play, with tutorials to help you understand the menu system which isn’t hard, after that you can start to enjoy making your units and building and upgrading your base. I love the fact there’s large bodies of water which means there’s a navel element where you can build battleships to dolphins and also navel units aren’t always trapped just on/in the water, boats can sprout legs and turn into land based vehicles, which you can in your plans and strategies. One of my favourite features has to be the telsa coils you can build to defend you base, well they took a step further and brought telsa tanks into the mix which just made my day. There are so many ways of playing this game because of the vast amount of units you can use but also the unique weapons that can change the tide of battle in an instant; these are always spectacular whichever side you pick.

The game play is spectacular but also the graphics of this game are out of this world, every unit, every building and every explosion looks crisp and colourful it’s amazing if you think how expansive this game is. The maps all look great too and set in many environments, from snow to beaches to even urban areas.

you may recognise as appearing in games or voicing over characters seems to be in the in thing with actors at the moment. With the likes of Jonathon Pryce (G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra) and Gemma Atkinson (Hottie from Holly oaks) but here’s the sell, the man himself Mr George Takei is the emperor Yoshiro, leader of The Rising Sun fraction…ZOMG!

Just to top is off the sound quality is excellent from laser sounds too lightning strikes from telsa tanks, it all sounds top notch, you will not hear a single fault mind you they have been doing this for years.

The only thing you can fault this game on is that the game play hasn’t changed a lot from both ancient and recent Command & Conquer titles and like always the campaign has a puzzle element to it so your just working through the puzzles and not really using your own initiative but there is a bigger emphasis of co-op play this time around so you and a friend can fight for world domination together.

Over all this game is great and is immense fun but a familiar kind of fun, with great in-depth story telling. It’s also nice to see the series exploring new directions but pleases its audience. It’s always nice to see the new era of players coming to games like these that you may think are more for experienced hardcore audiences but it’s not like that at all, it’s nice to see clear tutorials especially for deep games like these with more controls than other console games to get people who have never played the series of RTS used to it but it’s also nice as a big fan to be remembered. EA have provided for both sides of fans here as it’s a game I can see selling well to people who may want to try something new on their 360 and I also has a big fan will be keeping this and can’t wait to play it over and over again. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360 Arcade: Crystal Defenders

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The Crystal Defenders is a strategy game with characters from the Final Fantasy Tactics A2.

The aim of the game is too kill the hordes of enemies that are trying to take you crystals with units you can place round the maps. You can choose six characters all together from mage to paladin and two monsters that you can summon to the field that is it really, and the game doesn’t even tell you this you just have to figure it out yourself.

There are only twelve maps and each map has 30 waves of different foes that parade round the field to the other side of the map where they proceed to steal your precious crystals. Your characters have a level and you can upgrade them with G’s (gold coins) that you get every round from killing as many monsters as you can or even to buy extra units to fight. So you set up your ambush and spent all your G’s you’ve fought a couple of waves you will relies that’s all this game as to offer.

The graphics remind me of the 32-bit era which brings back happy memories for me like mystic quest for Sins, but they have added none of the in-depth story’s or character profiles not even a reason why these monsters want your crystals or why you even have them which with the bit style graphics  just bores you, there none of the expectations you would expect from a final fantasy series, in fact you don’t even get anything half as good as you would any other final fantasy titles which makes the music grind on you after 20 minutes and also lacks hugely in any kind of engaging features, there are much better strategy titles out on Xbox live arcade that fit this fun and clever strategy niche like worms and braid.

Even if you’ve played through the 30 waves of foes it does reward you with anything so you will find it very hard to keep playing and even enjoy.

Over all its fun for a very short time and then it gets very irritating and old, shame as I’m a huge fan of square Enix and they normally produce very high quality storytelling and in-depth characters but there’s none of that here which in fact lets you down even more because of the big name its u don’t get associated with. Also you don’t get any rewards or even a change in the game play like new units or in fact anything that would interest you to keep playing it. It just gets your hopes up then disappoints you badly like a T.V dinner; they look good on the box but taste terrible.

5/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: Watchmen: The End Is Nigh

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This game tells its story moments through a comic book like style but unlike other games along that genre they give it a very dark feel with Rorschach’s low gruff voice and the games dark almost wet damp dirty look.

At the start of the one player game you can choose either Rorschach or Nite owl, I chose Rorschach the spy like character. You first level is based in a prison where you are called to a inmate riot but your aren’t greeted with open arms in fact you aren’t welcome at all this sets the game up for the fact your seen as vigilantes and a treat and as the game continues you’ll realise what a great film this is going to be.

Shame there isn’t a quick tutorial at the start as your thrown rite into the bad guy fighting action, also don’t panic here if you get surrounded as you quickly get used to the basic controls of just moving the direction analogue stick in the direction you want to attack as it responds quickly and you can jump from enemy to enemy if you are about to be attacked.

I must say at this point i already noticed the high quality of the graphics its everything scenery, characters, enemies and even inanimate objects. This game also was allowed to exceed the size limit for arcade games, what a good decision this was it shows a lot, Although it is 1.35 GB and it took me awhile to download, already it was well worth the wait and the space this will take up on your hard drive.

Combat is easy to get used to but when you first start this game you don’t have many moves, this is fixed by the easily seen floating tokens that glow. These token unlock combos and other abilities like throw and counter attack, most combos are easy to remember and pull of and for the most enjoyable to unleash upon enemy’s, Also what’s nice is the little hints that appear in the corner of the screen reminding you of attacks and combos.

I love the cinematic one button finishers, they are brutal and brilliant you can hear bones break and the sound of cartilage and blood is gruesome…. yes you feel satisfied after one of these just keep an eye out for the indicated button about the poor enemy’s head.

Another cool feature in combat is that you can pick up bottle and batons , gave me flashbacks of double dragon and the fact that you have another playable character next to you is that you have back up also. One bad thing about the combat is if you down an enemy your character will boot him when you attack, this leaves you open to attack and it’s very tricky to stop kicking the guy on the ground to attack others.

It’s too bad I don’t have anybody who has this on my friends list as this game was made for co-op really and would probably come into its element during co-op play.

The commentary from your character through the game is very enjoyable and it gets you more involved, as you progress your character will tell you more about your environment and helps create depth to the story as your playing through it.

Even after getting used to the controls and playing a couple of levels I really wouldn’t go rushing in head first into large rooms of enemy’s as you will simply will get beaten to death, let Nite Owl go in first to distract them or lead them into smaller areas, the game is a little tricky like that.

Overall everything looks brilliant, I’ve seen worse looking full 360 retail titles than this for example the second level you’re in back alleys and streets and the rain effects are outstanding for an arcade game and he lighting effects again are jaw dropping.

This game is only 1600 MP, now that is a bargain for a fantastic looking game that’s very fun and enjoyable to play one player or co-op, definitly worth a look if you are looking forward to the Watchmen film, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Rating 8/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk

Review Xbox 360: The Last Remnant

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Square Enix are a pretty safe bet for a decent RPG, with titles like Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy Series which were huge when they were released between 2002-2009, which also means they have been going strong and must be getting something right.

I’m going to start with the main character Rush Sykes he is 18, he is the son of two renowned scientists. He grew up isolated with his sister on Eulam (quite place), it kind of makes him ignorant to formalities of the royalty and the royal courts for example he refers to Lord David, Marquis of Athlum as “Dave”). Irina Sykes is his sister but she is kidnapped by a mysterious forces, this is where Rush’s adventure begins.

This game is beautiful, you start in a flowered meadow, petals in the breeze……then suddenly a rumbling in the distance. Rush stumbles up a hill overlooking Yamarn Plain, below two huge armies are ready to engage each other. You get a grim feeling as the two sides march towards each other, as Rush scans over the hordes and thinks’ he sees Irina his missing sister..could it be?….

While rush leaps into the martial ranks, a great cannon like weapon is deployed it is referred to as “Gae Blog” (you can actually use this later in the game!) as David Nassau, the Marquis of Athlum (Dave), dons a sighting scope and prepares to fire. This triggers the Battle Control Tutorial, ok it can be abit much a first but if you read it carefully it’s not that complicated it just seems it. This tutorial gives you a little taste of the Last Remnant combat system. You choose your foe and battle commands for our five squads called Unions, each union has a leader to command the other units (If you lose your leader your squad will fall apart and randomly attack or do nothing, remember to heal!). Don’t spend a lot of time checking out enemies and your attacks as this battle isn’t going to last long. Turn two comes around and you only have the battle command “Gae Blog” select it to trigger an event, there’s a big bang after this. I’m going to mention again how good this game really looks, you want to feel involved and the scenery makes it so easy too.

The shot takes out an entire battlefield sector out, strangely rush is revived by the protective glow from his charm around his neck given to him by his parents. Rush catches up with the woman he thought was his sister, it’s not its one of Athlums generals named Emma, but as Rush approaches her they drop into an underground cavern. Emma accuses Rush of being a spy, but when he explains that he was just looking for his sister Irina Emma changes as she knows Rush’s parents….

Here there’s a cut scene where you get some back story involving a message from Rush’s mother and father, this part is just what happened before Irina got kidnapped.

Here you get a taste of the actual game, you have to escape from The Underground Cavern it’s not too hard, the enemies are no match for you as Emma is in your union. Jhana fighters aren’t tough but later on in the game you will find the enemies will try and outnumber you. Your first chest is here! You have a chat with Emma here about these chests. Equip the broadsword it does smash damage (this is just a type of damage (ei: Fire, Poison or slash). Now time to fight the Jhana unions, Emma  explains how to encounter enemies. With your finger on the RT button and approach the Jhana until you see an ellipsis icon turn red above the Jhana, the moment you see that pull the RT. There another quick battle tutorial, after killing the two Jhana unions (Emma knee splitter is great here) watch out for the Jhana Arch fighter as they hit hard, expect your union to take damage (you can select the option “keep HP up!” Emma will heal and Rush will attack too).

There is a few more smaller battle details for example, when you fight an enemy union you become deadlocked, certain battle commands can break your union free from a deadlock but choosing a command like heal will withdraw you from the deadlock leaving the enemy union with a free attack.

After the battles head towards the wide cavern area, you will trigger a cut scene. A Huge raptor appears (quick tutorial on morale here) now it’s time to kick butt.

Well the first boss fight is just an exercise to introduce the power of Rush’s talisman. First turn “charge” battle attack is the basic attack, you can pick one of three choices it doesn’t matter. Turn two your only command is “what…what is this power?” select it to release the mighty attack Omnistrike from Rush’s talisman, This kick the snot out of the raptor in one go.

After the battle you meet “Dave” and his other three generals, Dave offers his aid in the search for Rush’s sister and invites him back to Athlum.

The world map now appears travel to Athlum, stop to take a look around when you arrive all the towns and cities are picture perfect. The game gets into its swing after this, don’t panic if you think you haven’t got used to the battle controls, you can go back to The Underground Cavern to have a little practice and also collect some items and cash. After you’ve played this for a few hours you will have unlocked other areas, you should always revisit these and train and gather items, people who love RPG’s would have started to do this from the beginning. A huge part of RPG’s is the levelling up and the gathering of object and materials you need to upgrade weapons and equipment ect. There isn’t actually a levelling up system, the developers at Square Enix had the great idea of a combat system that doesn’t have experience levels so to speak which makes the game more fair and challenging. So no you can’t level up for hours just to beat that boss you’re stuck on you have to use your head!. This makes it a much fuller and rewarding experience and maybe it is time to explore on the old levelling up system or exp and this is one of the reason Last Remnant is an unique RPG adventure.

I don’t want to spoil the story as it’s really good, the story line is fantastic you get so wrapped up because the speech and text of the story doesn’t have a flaw.

I’m going to give you a few pointers to playing this game as it is a large and time consuming game, always go to pubs the side quests are important if you want achievements and great items. Also go to the union in the cities and towns, there are lots of tasks to be completed here IE: kill a certain monsters, you get cash and some important materials for weapon and equipment upgrades. Upgrading is very beneficial and fun, there’s nothing like making your own gear.

Always stock up, I found that spending a big chunk of cash on healing items is a must specially when you have a low number of unions and soldiers and also wile you get used to the unions and morale aspects of the game. Also I must mention which is a great idea in RPG’s is the fact you don’t have access to all the feature and customisable aspects of the game straight away IE: the further you progress the more “fiddly” options are available for you squads and leaders and also battle formations, also you unlock more union, soldiers and leaders as you progress through the story.

To finish I’m going to say, this game is uber gorgeous with intricate detail and beauty, there’s so much to see and do you will not get board not for a second. You will get really involved in this fantastic fantasy adventure I really do love it. It’s a great game for the fans of Square Enix and

newcomers to RPG’s and gaming which is just as important these days with new customers entering the games market looking for something new and interesting. The tutorials are spaced and not squashed together and in your face all at once it’s more cool and relaxed with a gradual release of features and other things to keep you interested it is a fresh of breath air for the RPG niche.

In my opinion it is (thus far) the best RPG I have come across so far on the 360 mind Blue Dragon is a close second.

Rating 8/10

Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk